Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bolivia responds to US on Climate Debt: "If you break it, you buy it."

Bolivia's ambassador to the United Nations, has responded strongly to the US position on Climate Debt, saying "We are not assigning guilt, merely responsibility. As they say in the US, if you break it, you buy it."

He was responding to Todd Stern, US Special Envoy for Climate Change, who said in a press conference on 10 December: "We absolutely recognize our historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere up there that are there now. But the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations - I just categorically reject that."

Australia is also ducking it's responsibility - we are the largest carbon polluter on a per capita basis. And it appears our negotiators are part of the cabal trying to minimise our carbon debt to developing countries. By the in-action of Australia we are sentencing countries like Tuvalu to innundation by rising sea levels that we have partly caused.

Pablo Solon said "Admitting responsibility for the climate crisis without taking necessary actions to address it is like someone burning your house and then refusing to pay for it. Even if the fire was not started on purpose, the industrialised countries, through their inaction, have continued to add fuel to the fire. As a result they have used up two thirds of the atmospheric space, depriving us of the necessary space for our development and provoking a climate crisis of huge proportions.

"It is entirely unjustifiable that countries like Bolivia are now forced to pay for the crisis. This creates a huge draw on our limited resources to protect our people from a crisis created by the rich and their over-consumption.

"In Bolivia we are facing a crisis we had no role in causing. Our glaciers dwindle, droughts become ever more common, and water supplies are drying up. Who should address this? To us it seems only right that the polluter should pay, and not the poor."

"We are not assigning guilt, merely responsibility. As they say in the US, if you break it, you buy it."

Bolivia's chief climate negotiator, Angelica Navarro said that "Twenty percent of the population have actually emitted more than two-thirds of the emissions. And as a result, they have caused more than 90 percent of the increase in temperatures," Navarro says. "We are not begging for aid; we want developed countries to comply with their obligation and pay their debt."

Pablo Solon was interviewed by Friends of the Earth radiomundo real world news on 9 December- "They want to kill the Kyoto Protocol" - where he outlined "there is an attempt for this negotiation process we've been working on for over two years, to be suddenly replaced with a document written by a few countries, that will appear on the last days of the COP".

According to Salon the developed countries, including Australia, are pushing for a new deal that will force countries like China, India, Mexico and Brazil, which are part of the G77, to reduce their emissions. "These are not the formal negotiations and we want a transparent negotiating process, where all the member countries are reflected and without last minute agreements". he said.

"Bolivia thinks the developed countries want to erase the footprints of the climate debt they owe to the developing countries, to the humanity as a whole, and to Mother Earth. For this reason they want to erase the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change", said Solon.

"We shall firmly oppose any attempt to avoid or eliminate the historical responsibility that they (the developed countries) have", he claimed.

"Bolivia brings a key issue to the COP 15. If we want to solve the issue of climate change here, we have to reestablish a harmonic relation of the human beings with nature, which has been broken by the capitalist system. Unless we manage to change the capitalist system, we will not be able to reestablish the balance between human beings and nature, hence the causes that lead to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems in the world, will continue".

Solon applauded the key role of social movements in keeping the pressure on Governments and negotiators to avoid an agreement drawn up by the industialised countries that penalises the developing world: "If social movements keep the pressure and the eye on the governments and the delegations, and if they are watching them with proposals, there are more chances of reaaching an agreement that puts the interests of humanity and the interests of Mother Earth first". he said.

David Ngatae, Cook Islands, said 100 other countries have got behind Tuvalu's proposal. Australia is not one of them. Tuvalu wants a legally binding agreement, with emission reduction actions that will preserve its sovereignty: backpeddle to 350ppm and aim for no more than 1.5 degrees of warming. If industrialised countries fulfilled their commitments under Kyoto Protocol and Bali roadmap of 25-40% emissions reductions on 1990 levels by 2020 we would achieve the Tuvalu targets. All it takes is political will.


* Pablo Solon on radiomundo real world news, Dec 9, 2009 - "They want to kill the Kyoto Protocol"
* Media Release, Dec 11, 2009 - Bolivia responds to US on climate debt: "If you break it, you buy it."
* The Wonk Room, Dec 11, 2009 - US Climate Envoy Claims We Were 'Blissfully Ignorant' Of The Greenhouse Effect Until Recently
* Youtube Video - COP15 - US Envoy Todd Stern rejects the idea of 'climate debt' or climate reparations

Takver is a citizen journalist from Melbourne who has been writing on Climate Change issues and protests including Rising Sea Level, Ocean acidification, Environmental and social Impacts since 2004.